In Tibetan, “Kutsab” refers to the representative of the body (i.e. the body of Guru Rinpoche). “Ter” means precious treasure and “Nga” means five.
The 5 representative treasures consist of :
Great Lama Lungten Urgen Palsang travelled to Tibet at a tender age and met his Guru Rigdzin Tsenpo Duddul Dorje Rinpoche who was a Terton (treasure revealer). After receiving all the teachings and instructions from his master, the Kutsab Ternga (five representative treasures) was entrusted to him. His Guru instructed, “You must bring the precious Kutsab Ternga to your village, build a monastery to house the treasures and pay respect to them daily. They will bring forth immense benefits to all the sentient beings and peace will prevail everywhere.”
After much hardship and several days in search of an ideal location, the great Lama finally found a place in his village, Gharap Zong. It was said that when the great Lama prayed to the Dharma Protectors for blessings, a crow took a plate of his Torma offering and dropped it at Ozer Gang. In Vajrayana, crows symbolise the messengers of the Dharma Protector Mahakala. He read this as the sign given by his Guru and the Dharma Protectors. Thus, he built the monastery at that very spot.
When the monastery was completed, he invited his Guru from Tibet to inaugurate the monastery. During the consecration ceremony, a beautiful rainbow appeared and remained in the skies for 3 days. Dakinis danced joyously to melodious celestial music on the roof, and left their footprints on the silk cloth, which can be seen by fortunate devotees endowed with great blessings. Since then, the monastery was named Kutsab Ternga.
Over 4 centuries, the temple was restored many times. In 1954, there was a major renovation by the 1st Shangpa Rinpoche from Tibet, who was well loved and respected in the Himalayan region where he travelled to rebuild monasteries and stupas. When he arrived at Kutsab Ternga during his pilgrimage, he saw a dilapidated temple that was unfitting to house the five treasures of Guru Rinpoche.
He felt very sad, and started to raise funds from Tibet and Nepal to rebuild the monastery.
Rinpoche supervised the design and construction of the temple. Most of the locals volunteered to work on the restoration for free. When the work was completed after 4 years,
Rinpoche was full of joy and performed a 15 days puja and consecration ceremonial.
He ordained several monks and handed over the monastery to the villagers.
Thereafter, he left for Tibet.
During my visit to Kutsab Ternga in 2001, the Lamas and villagers requested that I rebuild the temple. The monastery was made of stones and mud and had deteriorated significantly in the harsh weather over time. Due to safety concerns, the five treasures were kept in different homes in the village. 17 years have passed and I would like to commence this project, despite undertaking multiple projects concurrently and the lack of funds.
This time, it will be a major restoration with additional structures and buildings. There will be a main hall at the ground floor for puja and gatherings. The 1st floor will enshrine the five treasures, with a meditation place. Rinpoche and Sangha’s rooms will flank the shrine hall. There will be a dining area and a small café
for pilgrims to take a break and have some refreshments. As this would be the first showcase of Guru Rinpoche’s five representative treasures, I ensured that the design of the temple caters to every pilgrim’s wish to venerate and receive blessings, as well as to enjoy the pristine environment.
This is a very important project as it conserves a rare historical site and revives the Buddha Dharma in Jomsom. In lower Mustang, Kutsab Ternga is the earliest temple ever built that is enshrined with holy objects of Guru Rinpoche. As it is the legacy of the 1st Shangpa Rinpoche’s mission, it is especially meaningful to ensure the continuity of the Buddha teachings across generations. I sincerely wish that every devotee of Dharma would support this project to fruition. May you resonate with this project, and may you
receive the great blessings of the Kutsab Ternga.
Kutsab Ternga Monastery is situated at Jomsom, in the Mustang district of Nepal. The monastery was established by the great yogi, Lungten Urgen Palsang Rinpoche, and formally inaugurated by his master in the 15th century.